Government Policy

India farmers’ protests: Bollywood celebs slam Rihanna over ‘anti-govt comments’

From superstars Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn to filmmakers Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar, several Bollywood celebrities Wednesday joined the Indian government in flaying pop star Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg for their tweets in support of the protests by this country’s farmers against new farm laws.

Millions of farmers have been camping on the outskirts of the Indian capital since November last year, calling for an immediate repeal of three controversial farm laws that they fear will hurt their livelihoods.

Sharing a link to a new story by CNN, Rihanna tweeted to her 100 million followers Tuesday, “Why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest”. Her comment was retweeted 230,000 times. Later that day, Greta tweeted: “We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India.” The climate activist has over 4.6 million followers.

Reacting to the tweets, the Indian Foreign Ministry Wednesday said that that these protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, “and the efforts of the government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse”.

“Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken. The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Soon after the Ministry put out the statement, Akshay Kumar retweeted it, adding, “Farmers constitute an extremely important part of our country. And the efforts being undertaken to resolve their issues are evident. Let’s support an amicable resolution, rather than paying attention to anyone creating differences. #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda.”

Moments later another action hero, Ajay Devgn echoed similar sentiments. “Don’t fall for any false propaganda against India or Indian policies. It’s important to stand united at this hour w/o any infighting #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda,” he tweeted.

Filmmaker Ekta Kapoor, daughter of Bollywood actor Jeetendra, and Karan Johar were the next to lend their support to the government. “Let’s stand united against any propaganda. Together we can and we will! #IndiaAgainstPropoganda #IndiaTogether,” Ekta tweeted.

“We live in turbulent times and the need of the hour is prudence and patience at every turn. Let us together, make every effort we can to find solutions that work for everyone – our farmers are the backbone of India. Let us not let anyone divide us. #IndiaTogether,” Johar tweeted.

On January 26, thousands of farmers clashed with police after their tractor rally in Delhi in protest against the three new controversial farm laws turned violent. At least one protester died and more than 300 cops were injured in the violence on that day, which also saw many farmers entering the iconic Red Fort and hoisting their flags.